Trend: Sharing Spaces

Co-Living Reloaded

Temporary. An important attribute for the definition of co-living. People live together temporarily. The demand is growing stronger and more versatile than before. Remote work makes the boundaries between living and working fade. Co-Living Reloaded - A look ahead.

Mar 09 2021

Cupertino - The cradle of modern co-living 

The beginnings of the first shared apartments go back some time. Modern co-living has its origins in the middle of Silicon Valley, in Cupertino. 

In 2006, Jessy Kate Schingler and four other young engineers got jobs at NASA's Ames Research Center. They suddenly needed accommodation in the start-up stronghold. Instead of opting for cheap housing with a long commute, they pooled their resources and rented a palatial 5,000-square-metre property. Rainbow Mansion - The birth of co-living in the 21st century. 

It was more than just a luxury house full of brilliant young minds. Rainbow Mansion was described as an "intentional community" and was an experiment in a new way of co-living. The house hosted hackathons and salons in its library, inviting Silicon Valley's best and brightest to participate. To this day, the communal villa is a home for founders and creatives, a coming and going of Googlers, NASA-ers, Teslaners and Applers. 

Back to Europe and today. What is currently happening also has an impact on the development of co-living. Living alone allows us to focus on our own goals without distraction, but it robs us of the kind of communication that only happens when people are relaxed and together at home.

The spaces between work and life that would have been filled with conversations over the dinner table in decades past are breaking down. Co-living hacks this trend and expands the blurred boundaries of work and leisure with new opportunities for inspiration, learning and social innovation. 

Modern co-living has its origins in the middle of Silicon Valley, in Cupertino. © Unsplash

Remote work - the push 

Business structures, especially in office workflows have changed in many industries within the last twelve months. Fundamental. The clear divisions between classic office workplaces, the use of coworking spaces and temporary work in a home office are passé. But not only the structures of how and where work is done are becoming blurred. Working and living are also reshaping themselves in interaction and will establish themselves with a different standard.  

New Work stands not only for other forms of organising activities, but also for a new way of thinking about the relationship between work and leisure. One's own work-life balance and the options of the gig economy are gaining in importance. Here, the need for individuality and personal design also plays a role. Progressive digitalisation provides the necessary basis for this. 

Three megatrends interacting in a post-corona era are manifesting a new self-image of generations - working, living and working everywhere. Remote Work. Remote work stands for mobile, location-independent work - on one's own projects, for clients or as an employee within a company. This flexibility in the choice of working environment is promoted by the further development of shared office programmes and cloud services. 

However, remote work does not only initiate the redesign of work processes. The option of a flexible work location is also accompanied by a mindshift for living and housing. This inspires new concepts such as workation and also drives the stronger fusion of coworking and co-living. New challenges, but even more new opportunities for providers in these areas.

Anywhere and anytime

Especially for industries that are struggling in today's world, the clientele of co-living offers new perspectives. A good example is the hotel industry. Whether in the city, in the countryside or in holiday regions - the infrastructural conditions are largely in place and made for it.

Each living environment has its own drivers, but remote work is for the first time an overarching, global element. The home base of co-living will certainly remain the big city. In addition to flexible working, the limited available living space and the "singles trend" are issues that speak for a growing co-living demand.  

The real estate services company CBRE has looked at co-living on a European scale in terms of key trends - and cities in detail in its current study "Europe Co-Living Report". A basic message from it: "The co-living sector has recently gained momentum in response to the need for quality, community-led urban accommodation for young professionals moving to urban areas.

The number of renters across Europe has increased, not only due to financial constraints, but also due to the need for flexibility. Co-living is an accommodation solution that responds not only to the increasing number of tenants, but also to the need for social engagement." 

The option of a flexible work location is also accompanied by a mindshift for living and housing. © Unsplash

The air to breathe 

Those who use the time for a reorientation now will benefit from the further development of co-living in the future. Certainly, not every hotel, motel or guesthouse will be able or willing to open up to this option, despite the current vacancy. And if so, it will not happen overnight. For conversion concepts, corresponding preliminary planning must be taken into account.  

But the right approach to the associated investments also plays a major role. CapEx vs. OpEx - buy or rent. At the end of the considerations is the safeguarding and ultimately the survival of the company. The air to breathe is brought by the OpEx shift in expenditure.  

An important lever is the rental option of assets with "Product as a Service" at its core. Renting is a very effective way to better manage and develop one's business model in terms of expenditure. So that the start into a co-living business succeeds. 

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